12 May 2020
By Bryan Smyth
UCC’s School of Nursing and Midwifery Annual Achievement Awards took place virtually today on the International Day of the Nurse May 12th, The Awards can be viewed here Awards Ceremony. This was the first online School of Nursing and Midwifery Annual Achievement Awards and was a celebratory occasion marking the valiant efforts of students who have exhibited excellence in all aspects of university life and acknowledged students and healthcare workers who have made broader societal contributions. Winners were selected based on their exemplary performance in the 2019/2020 academic year. UCC’s President Professor Patrick O’Shea launched the momentous awards ceremony.
The Awards took place virtually due to current lockdown and in these unprecedented times of Covid-19 when numerous UCC student nurses and midwives are courageously assisting within the health services. The School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC has worked closely with the HSE on a number of areas to ensure our health service is supported. Ordinarily the School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC uses its simulation centre to facilitate and support student learning, however over the last few weeks UCC and the Mercy University Hospital have worked together to enable the provision of onsite clinical services at the centre, which is now being used to deliver chemotherapy to patients with cancer.
Josephine Hegarty, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery commented on the Awards,
‘’Our frontline health workers have inspired us all in this apprehensive period and our nursing and midwifery students have shown both dedication and resilience. While we cannot hold a physical Awards ceremony we are delighted to have a virtual Awards ceremony celebrating outstanding student nurses and midwives over the past year.’’
The categories of Awards and the Awardees for the School of Nursing and Midwifery Annual Achievement Awards 2020 are as follows:
The Undergraduate Student of the Year 2020 is presented to a student who has exhibited excellence in all aspects of university life, Carrie O’Leary, who is studying for her BSc in General Nursing and is in her final year at the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital. Carrie has been commended for her exceptional clinical ability and insights and she espouses many of the attributes of a potentially excellent nurse.
The Postgraduate Student of the Year 2020 is Sinead Horgan a PhD in Nursing student who is also an Assistant Director of Nursing in the South/Southwest Hospital Group. Sinéad’s PhD work is a quality improvement initiative to prevent surgical site infection and sepsis in elective colorectal surgical patients. Receiving this award is great recognition for the multidisciplinary team involved in this quality improvement initiative. It is a great example of how collaboration between Cork University Hospital, the South/South West Hospital Group and the School of Nursing and Midwifery in UCC can facilitate and support quality improvement for direct patient benefit.
Student Leader of the Year 2020 is presented to Caoimhe Hennigan, a final year BSc Integrated Children’s and General Nursing student from Co Clare who has demonstrated strong leadership and influenced change through her leadership. She was nominated for her exceptional advocacy work on behalf of patients and their families.
The Award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Life 2020 celebrates the work of the Kelly Darnell a third year BSc General Nursing student at the Mercy University Hospital for her outstanding contribution to student life in UCC. Kelly has supported others through her work as a peer support mentor, membership of the disability activism and awareness society and her work with children with visual impairments. Kelly hails from Co Donegal.
Award for Recognition in Sport 2020 is presented to Aoife O’Leary a third year BSc Intellectual Disability Nursing student. Aoife has been coaching athletes with Owenabue Special Olympics Sports Club for 6 years and has helped prepare gymnasts for the Special Olympics Ireland and World Games. In addition to her weekly coaching sessions, she fundraises and travels with the club to national and international sporting events as well as being an accomplished gymnast herself.
Community Engagement 2020 Individual award is presented to Margaret Monahan a third year BSc Mental Health Nursing student from Rathpeacon. Margaret is involved in Soar- an organisation which supports mental health workshops in schools and she also volunteers in memory cafes supporting individuals with dementia. Margaret’s volunteering work demonstrates that community activism can improve the lives of others and communities at large.
Community Engagement Group 2020 award is presented to Stephanie Ryng, Avril Creedon, Louise Power and David Fitzgerald who have provided Student Help at the Clinical Skills Simulation Resource Centre within the School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC for a number of years. On each and every occasion where unexpected assistance was required they have made themselves available without question. With the COIVD19 pandemic they rose to the challenge to help prepare the skills centre for the oncology day services. The transformation of the centre in a short space of time would not have been feasible without their assistance. Over the space of a long weekend and whilst working long hours these students helped transform a teaching facility into a clinical facility helping to move teaching equipment out and clinical equipment into the facility.
Preceptor of the Year 2020 is presented to Giovanna Lostorto who is a staff nurse in St. Claire’s Ward (Care of Older Adult Facility), St. Finbarr’s Hospital and was nominated for the award by students. Preceptors support and supervise students on clinical placement. Giovanna has demonstrated an ability to improve and enhance the student experience and has acted as an outstanding role model.
The annual Patricia J. Power Excellence in Clinical Practice Award is being presented to Emily Hall a fourth year BSc Intellectual Disability Nursing student in COPE Foundation. This award, is presented in memory of the late Patricia J Power who was also a nurse at the North Infirmary Hospital. Emily has shown great insight into the role of the intellectual disability nurse. Emily has shone from an interpersonal perspective and has demonstrated thorough professionalism in her relationships with team members and service users. She is compassionate, empathetic, respectful, and considerate in all of her interactions.
Keady Clifford Excellence in Children’s Nursing Award was established in memory of Keady Clifford from Dingle, Co. Kerry. Keady undertook the Children’s and General Nursing Programme in UCC and following graduation worked on the children’s ward in CUH and continued her studies undertaking a Masters in Nursing in UCC. Tragically Keady died in a car accident in 2018. She was exemplary practitioner and dedicated her working life to sick children and their families. This award seeks to honor Keady’s memory and to recognize an exemplary student in the context of children’s nursing. The Keady Clifford Excellence in Children’s Nursing Award is presented to Casey O’Sullivan a fifth year BSc Integrated Children’s and General Nursing student at Cork University Hospital. Casey hails from Innishannon, Co Cork. Casey has courage and most importantly the courage to care. She advocates for patients, even in times of change, adversity and complexity. She can effectively and democratically share opinions because of her genuine caring and compassionate outlook. Casey is a great motivator and never fails to step up to challenges when required.
Best Clinical & Quality Environment of the Year 2020 is a new award category and is presented to the Emergency Department at Cork University Hospital. This new award is presented to the clinical area/unit that has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to prioritising excellence and leadership as a learning environment. Cork University Hospital (CUH) Emergency Department (ED) is one of the largest and busiest EDs in Ireland. It is the only hospital in Ireland with “level 1 trauma” criteria, providing care for approximately 68,000 patients that is 54,000 adults and 14,000 children per year. This busy Department is staffed by a dedicated, highly skilled and diligent multidisciplinary team. For many patients ED is their first contact with the healthcare system, with staff providing evidence based compassionate care on a 24/7 basis. Student nurses who rotate through the department comment on the huge learning opportunities afforded to them within the ED in CUH and the tremendous passion of the ED staff for their work. One student noted that whilst the ED was very busy that it was “the best clinical teaching environment I have ever been in—each member of staff was willing to teach us and support us in any way they could.”